Evelyn McDonald, CEO of Scottish EDGE Awards, discusses SDX and her role as chair of the board.

Evelyn McDonald, CEO of Scottish EDGE Awards, discusses SDX and her role as chair of the board.

Hi Evelyn, thank you for chatting with us today. Let's start by learning a bit mroe about who you are,what’s your background, what drew you to SDX, and what does being chairwoman of the board mean to you?

I’m the CEO of Scottish EDGE which is a private sector led social enterprise.  We run Scotland’s biggest business competition for early stage, innovative, high-growth potential businesses. To date we’ve invested over £25 million in over 600 businesses.  One of my friends suggested I join the SDX board and when I visited the first shop in Leith I was hugely impressed by the quality and number of the products and the model which allowed artists and craftspeople to sell their work on the high street. I also thought some of the skills I’d learned in running a social enterprise might be helpful to SDX and as a lover of arts and crafts I was also drawn to the idea of supporting artists. Having been a board member for a couple of years I was very proud to step up as Chair and to help the amazing team at SDX with their future plans.

From your perspective, how does SDX compare to other non-profits, social enterprises, or organisations supporting Scotland’s artists, designers, and producers?

SDX is very focused on the artists, craftspeople and food producers which I love, and tries to support them in any way it can but I have also been impressed by the drive to create a sustainable business model. It’s important not to be reliant on grants as a social enterprise and I think the team are doing a great job of developing a business which works for the many people who sell products in the shops and will be around in the long-term.

We see a lot of customers coming back to SDX again and again, why do you think SDX resonates with so many of our customers?

I honestly think there is something for everyone in SDX and once you’ve been in the shop and realise that you go back again and again.  It is a perfect place for gifts and for tourists to discover something truly original to take home.

What would be your advice to any new or established artists, designers, or producers who are looking to break into retail or grow their brands?

Speak to your customers is always my top advice to anyone in business and test your ideas out on them.  They will soon let you know what works and what doesn’t and whether your pricing is correct.

How would you like to see SDX grow, what successes do you see for SDX in the future?

I’d love to see an SDX in every Scottish city full of local artists, craftspeople and food producers.

How would you describe SDX to someone who has never heard of us, whether they’re a new customers or an artist?

For artists I would say SDX is the affordable place to sell your products on the high street. For customers, I would say it is the best place to find a unique, affordable gift whether that’s for yourself or others.


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